To be sure, business partnerships can be a challenge.
Stuff happens all the time.
Issues cause turbulence.
You need to accept this as normal, or never leave your cave. It’s your choice.
Partnerships can also be your business’ best asset, done right. Most people in—or who have been in—a bad one throw in the towel and just say a very human, “Never again!”, while those who understand and value their partnership approach differences from a more spiritual perspective.
Yeah, it’s business. I get that. But Business is Personal and, in the end, it is about one thing: People. Never forget it. So a problem isn’t your cue to cut and run. If that is always your tendency, you will circle around again and again. You get nowhere.
Unless your partner is truly hideous and your partnership untenable (some just are), you might want to look at another way to handle these problems. When you feel your hands closing around your partner’s throat, when the judge in you takes over and when blame starts spewing out of your mouth like just some green vomit, you’ll want to unearth the following qualities that, if you are a great partner and a great person, you know you possess:
1. Take a big deep breath. This will calm and center you like nothing else. It will help you get focused.
2. Stop all judgment immediately. Judgment is toxic and is more about your shortcomings than it is about the other guy. It’s like that old country-western song (which I wrote . . .) that says: “When you judge, it’s you who’s on the stand.” Twang, twang. And as Mother Teresa reminds us, “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”
3. Be clear about what the problem really is. Are you two fighting about the same thing? Never assume anything. Very often, we strike out when we are tired, depressed, sad, angry or just plain over it. Your partner might not have a clue why you are turning purple. To be fair is to be clear. It’s okay to be ticked off. Just be sure you are both clear about what is going on.
4. State your intention for solving the problem. This little trick is one of the very best ways to get centered and calm, no matter the situation. (It’s also the best way to start any meeting.) Before you two dive into the problem, take a minute, take that deep breath we spoke about and declare this to each other:
“My intention for this meeting is to really listen to you, calmly discuss _______(the issue)_________ and then arrive at a mutually acceptable solution.”
5. Close your mouth; open your heart and your ears. Will you please let someone else talk already? Don’t try to be the expert at everything. It’s amazing what happens when we really listen to others, when we get our big selves out of the way and feel the other person’s heart. Pain, fear and overwhelm can make a grown person cry. So can compassion and understanding.
6. Be honest about how this problem is affecting you and ask your partner to do the same. Business problems are like stink on a sweaty shirt: they affect everyone around you. Is this issue making you sick? Sleepless? Cranky? Scared? Sad? Problems affect folks differently, and you cannot hope to resolve anything unless you take these feelings into consideration.
7. Be open to the other person’s POV’s. Differences are what make the world go ’round. How boring and uncreative would this world be if we all thought the same? A Stepford mentality will not change the world.
8. Be a heat-seeking missile for solutions. Don’t look to be right; look to be fair. The solution should serve both people. Solutions are not always fodder for celebration, but if they are based on clarity, honesty and integrity, they are honorable.
9. Be grateful you have each other and your business. Being in a state of gratitude shifts everything. It forces you to look at the bigger, more wonderful picture and to realize that issues are part of the deal, but not THE deal. It’s hard to be grateful and angry at the same time.
10. Be 100% accountable for each and every action, including your part in making the solution work. This, for me, is life’s biggest secret. If one is accountable for each and every thing they allow into their lives, can you imagine how much more peaceful we would all be? Blame and judgment would disappear, and the door to cat fighting would close; what’s left would be room for clear, concise, powerful forward motion.
And isn’t that what business and relationships are supposed to be about?